Quantcast

Giving Back: Jeffrey Hollender - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Giving Back: Jeffrey Hollender

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

The products help clean your home. Their sales help clean the environment. "We are helping to preserve and keep intact what it is we value most about the community we live in," said Jeffrey Hollender.

The cofounder of Burlington-based Seventh Generation has made a lot of green -- off going green.  The company is a leader in environmentally-friendly household products.  Ten percent of their profits support charities.  In 2009, the company donated nearly half-a-million dollars in cash and products.

"If you are fortunate enough to be financially successful, on one hand you have an obligation to share that wealth beyond what you distribute in taxes to your community," Hollender said.

Hollender had a well publicized falling out with the company's board two years ago, but is still a significant shareholder at Seventh Generation.  He's a wealthy man and is proud of where his money comes from.  But that wasn't always the case.

Hollender was a multi-millionaire by the time he was 30.  In the late 70s and early 80s he was raking in cash from massive adult education classes -- teaching people things like "How to marry money."  He appeared on the Phil Donahue talk show and was basically booed off the stage. "Once we were on the show, we met with a somewhat unhappy, if not violently unhappy crowd, challenging us of being unethical," he said. "I walked off the set feeling ashamed, if not disgusted with myself, that I had lost track of my own values in the pursuit of money.

Reporter Darren Perron:  Did Phil Donahue change your life?

Jeffrey Hollender: His audience did.

It was a turning point -- and a starting point for Seventh Generation. "I try to do what I can today rather than waiting for tomorrow," he said.

The businessman is also an author, consultant, teacher at New York University -- and is launching a new partnership with  KSV advertising in Burlington. He and his wife's foundation supports causes in line with those supported by Seventh Generation -- like Resource in Burlington, which recycles household items.  They also help fund Planned Parenthood. "Breast cancer prevention is very, very, very important. My mother had breast cancer in both breasts," Hollender said.

"Giving and giving locally in a way that you can participate and get your hands into it is just part of being a Vermonter. It is part of who we are," said Peter Espenshade with the Vermont Community Foundation. The Vermont Community Foundation says philanthropists making contributions in a small state like Vermont, can have a greater impact than their counterparts in larger, urban areas. "They can make change, make communities stronger and move the issue and move the needle on issues. Not only are they comparable to the greats in American philanthropic history, I think in some cases they've done more because they are doing it in Vermont," Espenshade said.

Hollender's products may be worldwide, but he still calls Vermont home.  He, his wife and son live in Charlotte. He has two other grown children.  He's learned a lot since he was their age.
"We save too much money for a time and a day that may never come," he said.

And hopes that others, wealthy or not, learn the rewards of giving back too. "There is nothing more fulfilling to me than helping other people. Nothing I can do for myself compares to the joy and fulfillment I get from helping other people. If you haven't discovered that, you're missing out on one of life's greatest joys," he said.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • 2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:52 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:52:13 GMT
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
  • Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:08:26 GMT
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
  • Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:59:21 GMT
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
  • Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:51:52 GMT
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
  • Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:51:16 GMT
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
  • Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:32:03 GMT
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
  • Body discovered in Massena

    Body discovered in Massena

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:02 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:02:43 GMT
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
  • Community remembers O'Hagan's presence at Sheffield Field Days

    Community remembers O'Hagan's presence at Sheffield Field Days

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:54 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:54:21 GMT

    Sheffield Field Days is a Labor Day tradition -- attended by hundreds. But each year the event reminds the community who is missing.

    Sheffield Field Days is a Labor Day tradition -- attended by hundreds. But each year the event reminds the community who is missing.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.